There is some good news for motorists all over America, especially those who need to buy replacement parts for their vehicles.
The Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales Act, also known as the “Parts Act,” has been brought back into the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. This was accomplished thanks to the actions of U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), as well as U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Darrell Issa (R-CA). One of the original cosponsors of the bill is Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA).
The Act would amend legislation related to patents to provide exemptions for certain auto parts, including a large number of parts that are replaced following a collision. Many have commented that the introduction of this legislation would help motorists have affordable, yet safe and high-quality choices when they need to purchase collision parts, including hoods and fenders. Once the Parts Act goes into effect, consumers would have the choice between parts from various other manufacturers sold at auto repair shops and recyclers throughout the nation.
Currently, car manufacturers are allowed to have a monopoly on their design patents for 14 years. With the Parts Act, this length of time would be greatly reduced and go down to just 2.5 years. The result would be a growth in the availability of quality aftermarket parts available to every American motorists. This applies to both under-the-hood components and external collision parts. It is estimated that giving motorists an alternative to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts could result in savings of over $1.5 billion each year. Many aftermarket parts are up to 35 percent cheaper than parts made by car companies. This means that even those that are on a tight budget will be able to get their cars repaired at prices they can truly afford.
During the last decade, car manufacturers were able to get over a thousands patents for collision repair parts. Some have claimed that this is done in order to ensure that replacement parts all meet their quality standards and are safe to use. However, it becomes quickly apparent that their main goal is to make as much profit as possible by being the only ones allowed to produce parts that are often in need of replacement following a collision, such as mirrors and fenders. Not only will the availability of aftermarket parts mean lower costs, but it will also make performing collision repairs faster and easier. Parts produced by a variety of suppliers are expected to be easier to find, which means that damaged cars can be fixed and be put back on the road quicker.